UK Men's Basketball

What seed will UK be in the SEC Tournament? These are the possibilities for the Cats.

UK Coach John Calipari and the Wildcats are now on a four-game winning streak.
UK Coach John Calipari and the Wildcats are now on a four-game winning streak. aslitz@herald-leader.com

There’s just one regular-season game remaining for the UK basketball team, but there are still a few different possibilities for the Cats’ seeding in next week’s Southeastern Conference Tournament, depending on what happens Saturday.

Kentucky (21-9, 10-7 SEC) takes a four-game winning streak into this weekend’s game at Florida, and the Cats go into that one in a three-way tie for third place in the league with the Gators and Arkansas.

UK can’t win the conference title — that will go to either Auburn or Tennessee — but the Cats can still secure one of the league’s four “double-byes,” which would mean they wouldn’t have to play their first SEC Tournament game in St. Louis until Friday.

With the victory over Mississippi on Wednesday night, there are three possible seeds for the Cats in St. Louis, based on the outcome of this weekend’s games.

If Kentucky beats Florida

If that happens, UK will be the No. 3 seed in the SEC Tournament and will play at about 9:30 p.m. Friday against either the No. 6, 11 or 14 seed. KenPom is giving the Cats a 38 percent chance to beat Florida, as of Wednesday.

If Florida beats Kentucky

If the Gators win on Saturday, they’ll get the No. 3 seed. But that doesn’t mean Kentucky will be eliminated from the “double-bye” race.

▪  UK can still get the No. 4 seed with a loss Saturday — the Cats just need Missouri to defeat Arkansas in Columbia later that day. A Cats’ loss and a Tigers’ victory would give UK the No. 4 seed, which means a tip-off around 3:30 p.m. Friday. Mizzou has a 61 percent chance of beating the Razorbacks on Saturday, according to KenPom. The Missouri-Arkansas game is set for 6 p.m. and will be on ESPN2.

▪  If UK loses to Florida and Arkansas wins at Missouri on Saturday, the Wildcats will be the No. 5 seed in the SEC Tournament and play their first game Thursday at around 3:30 p.m. against either the No. 12 or 13 seed. If the Cats win that one Thursday, they would next play Arkansas at around 3:30 p.m. Friday. In this scenario, UK would need to win four games to bring home the SEC Tournament title. If they get the double-bye, the Cats would need only three wins in St. Louis for the title.

secmen
The SEC Tournament begins Wednesday at St. Louis.

Other notes

▪  No matter what happens this weekend, UK can fall no lower than the No. 5 seed in the tournament, based on tiebreaker rules.

▪  Auburn and Tennessee both go into Saturday’s games with 12-5 records in the league. Auburn defeated Tennessee in their only matchup this season, so the Tigers would clinch the No. 1 seed with a home win over South Carolina on Saturday. If Auburn loses that game and Tennessee beats Georgia at home, the Volunteers will be the No. 1 seed and the Tigers will be the No. 2 seed.

▪  UK, Florida and Arkansas are the only three teams that can earn the other two double-byes (the No. 3 and 4 seeds) in the SEC Tournament. Missouri and Mississippi State would both finish 10-8 in the league with victories Saturday, but neither can finish any higher than the No. 5 seed due to tiebreaker scenarios.

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